Members of Parliament seeking to move a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda yesterday marshaled 66 of the 70 signatures, only to learn that the motion could not be moved during the current session.
Speaker Anne Makinda explained yesterday that according to the country’s constitution any motion for a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister cannot be moved in the National Assembly if it is not related to his responsibilities or allegations that the Prime Minister has contravened leadership ethics.
She said that the motion cannot also be moved if six months have not lapsed since the appointment of the PM or nine months since a similar motion was moved in the House and rejected by the National Assembly.
Makinda said a motion for a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister can be passed by the National Assembly if a written notice signed and supported by twenty percent of the MPs was submitted to the Speaker at least fourteen days prior to the day on which the motion was intended to be moved in the House.
She further said that according to the Parliamentary standing orders a motion for a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister shall be passed only if it is supported by a majority of the Members of Parliament.
Makinda said that basing on the country’s constitution and the Parliament Standing Orders the move which was initiated to seek 70 signatures of MPs to move a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister cannot be tabled in the ongoing parliament session as it has not met the required conditions.
Makinda said that the parliament was going to be adjourned on Monday, advising the MPs to prepare their document and if possible table it in the coming session.
The MPs who signed the document were from various political parties represented in the National Assembly, except from the United Democratic Party (UDP).
Only four CCM members had signed the document by yesterday according to Zitto Kabwe.
Collection of signatures started a few minutes before the morning session of the National Assembly, with Kabwe Zitto accompanied by the new Arumeru East MP Joshua Nassari and Mbozi West legislator David Silinde standing at the Parliamentary main gate handing out the forms for the MPs to sign.
The exercise continued in the House as Zitto Kabwe was seen moving from one MP to another giving out forms, a move which he later said was successful.
The MP explained he was doing so not as Chadema member, but because the issue at hand was of national interest.
Zitto who was accompanied by Ludewa MP Deo Filikunjombe said already 66 MPs from Chadema, CUF, CCM, NCCR-Mageuzi and Tanzania Labour Party had signed the forms.
He said only UDP had refused to sign. UDP is represented by John Cheyo who is Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), one of the committees which reported serious embezzlement of public funds, the basis of the attacks on ministers by MPs.
Other oversight committees included the Parastatal Organisation Accounts Committee (POAC) of which Zitto is the chairman and Local Authority Accounts Committee chaired by Augustine Mrema who has also signed the forms.
According to Zitto, the headquarters of the Civil United Front (CUF) had instructed all its MPs to sign the document to move a motion for a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister.
“We are doing this to press the responsible ministers to quit. If they don’t, we will force the PM to resign,” said Zitto.
“We have placed national interest first and other issues like ideology have been sat aside. People should understand that this is not a Chadema move, it is a national issue.
We are dealing with ministers who are killing this nation. People who were given the responsibility to supervise the funds are part of the team of swindlers,” said Zitto.
He said MPs were tired of the habit of the government not living up to the expectations of the people.
Zitto said every year the Controller and Auditor General released reports, but the government has never acted resolutely on the recommendations.
“It is only this time that MPs have been moved by the CAG report after discovering that a lot of money had been misused or stolen,” said Zitto. Regarding the motion, he said they want to move from a sleeping parliament to a practical institution.”
“We want what we say as a parliament to be taken on board by the government,” stressed Zitto.
On why they targeted the PM, Zitto said they loved and respected him a lot, but the nation came first.
“He has no problem. We know his duties and as parliamentarians we are aware that he has no powers of appointing ministers. But he is the leader of government business in the house.
If his ministers misbehave, we cannot deal directly with them, we deal with him. It is up to him to decide to convince the President to fire the nonperforming ministers or risk a no confidence vote,” explained Zitto.
He suggested that another option was for the named ministers to relinquish their positions to spare the PM.
He said they were carrying out the exercise under the parliamentary standing order 133 of the parliament. Article 53 of the Union Constitution speaks of the Prime minister, outlining the procedure for MPs to pass a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister.
For his part, MP Filikunjombe said they were doing the right thing in collecting the signatures for a motion to impeach the PM.
“What we are stressing is that this is one parliament and we are working as one people to protect the interest of the people who sent us here,” he stressed.
Filikunjombe said he was called by the Minister of State, Prime Minister’s office William Lukuvi for a chat, but he made sure that he had signed before meeting the minister.